Britain beaten on China steel tariffs

The government had opposed the adoption of a more aggressive attitude to Chinese steel dumping on European marketsKevin Frayer/Getty

Britain’s attempt to resist tougher sanctions against cheap Chinese imports was finally overcome yesterday after the European Council agreed to boost its trade defences.

The council hailed a “breakthrough” agreement that would allow the EU to introduce higher, US-style tariffs to protect against dumping, the sale of exports below the cost of production. It comes as China pushes for market economy status under World Trade Organisation rules.

The agreement was applauded as a step in the right direction by the British steel industry.

Britain has been at the vanguard of a group of countries that had blocked the adoption of a more aggressive stance. It was backed by Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The government’s opposition to the move puts it at loggerheads with…

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